The bike looks a no different than a regular mountain bike. The 36 V, 8Ah Li-Ion battery is very cleverly designed and disguised as a thermos, so you will not be able to tell whether this is an e-bicycle or a regular one unless you get really close. It is very nicely build, and pretty sturdy; the frame is 100% alloy and the front fork is made with high-grade carbon steel. The bike itself weighs about 45 lbs.
The Blix Vika+ is a folding e-bike with a utilitarian execution: At nearly 50 pounds, it’s heavy for its size, and the folding mechanism isn’t as slick as other folding bikes we’ve tested. That said, it does fold into a small package and feels sturdy enough for riding between errands. The geared hub motor is adequately powerful and an included throttle makes it easier to get off the line. A rear rack, front and rear lights, and a kickstand come with the bike—it’s everything you need for zippy urban commuting.
As electric bike options continue to expand, brands are integrating the batteries more seamlessly. That makes them look sleeker (and more like a real bike). Batteries are expensive, so make sure there’s a good way to lock the battery to your bike if you’ll be keeping it outside. Overall weight is important. Some battery and motors can add 15 pounds or more to the bike. With assist, you won’t feel that much when you’re riding, but you will if you have to carry your bike up stairs or lift it onto a bike rack.
Every bike on this list has been thoroughly evaluated and vetted by our team of test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and engineers, and use our own experience riding these bikes to determine the best options. Our team of experienced testers spent many hours and miles using these bikes for their intended purpose. We’ve commuted to and from work on them, used them to stock up on groceries and beer, tested their passenger-hauling capability, ridden them on questionable terrain to see how they handle, and run their batteries down to officially see how long they last on one charge. We evaluated them on performance, price, comfort, handling, value, reliability, fun, and overall e-factor to come up with this list of bikes that will best serve the needs of anyone looking to add a little pedal assist to their ride.
With different degrees of assistance at your fingertips, riders of varying fitness levels are easily accommodated on the same ride too. Which, depending on who’s setting the pace, can bring a social aspect back to big days out, because you can all ride together and the assistance from the motor makes it that much easier to string a coherent sentence together even on the steepest climbs.
The 250W motor and the 36V battery is built into a frame that also includes 26 inches wheels, anti-slip power-off brake, and Shimano 21-speed shifters. An integrated LCD screen shows power, speed, battery charge, and a few other statistics. It is suitable for adults as it can carry up to 360 lbs weight. However, the bike itself is almost 51 pounds, so keep that in mind.
The 150mm (fork) and 140mm (shock) suspension allows you to hit double-track ruts without veering from your line. The motor is powerful and torquey, meaning you can stay in the lower two assist levels (of the five available) to save battery and still get enough kick to ascend just slightly faster than you could on a regular bike. The highest setting has serious oomph, with a little too much power to use on tight or technical trails. It’s better for fire road climbs or cruising on pavement to the trail head or back home after a ride. The Yamaha motor with 80 Nm of peak torque has generous kick to get over small rises or tough spots on the trail. And the boost can hit quickly; Liv says you get full boost (based on your power setting) in just 190 milliseconds and that that quick response time was noticeable, but not welcome in every situation, by our testers. The Liv feels lighter than other e-mountain bikes, so it’s a great option for women looking for a balance between power and maneuverability.
The RadCity is a bike that’s been optimized to help you conquer the urban landscape. A big 48V battery gives you an estimated range of between 25 and 45 miles of e-assist from the 750-watt motor, which packs enough acceleration to get you out of dicey situations in traffic. There’s also a wattmeter to help you manage your power consumption on the LCD display. A welded-on rear rack holds up to 60 pounds of cargo, and puncture-resistant Kenda K-Rad tires keep you rolling over precarious debris. Commuting essentials include lights (the tail light also functions as a brake light), fenders, and a rear-mount kickstand.
As with most bikes on this list, the Norco Sight takes it's design cues from a non-motorized sibling. The regular Sight is an aggressive, all-mountain ride with a 160mm fork and 150mm of rear travel. The VLT electric version adds a Shimano STEPS E8000 motor and downtube integrated 630 Wh battery. The geometry is not the same as the unplugged Sight—due to the motor and battery—but still goes low and slack with a longer wheelbase for added stability. The 66 degree head tube angle, 440mm reach (size medium), and and 75 degree seat tube angle are what you would expect from such an aggressive bike. The SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain gives a wide gear range so you can shift down into a comfortable low gear before needing to move up to the next assistance level. The Code R brakes are powerful enough to handle the speeds that come from the forces of braking a 50 pound bike at high speed and they can be used lightly to maximize your control over the bike through turns. The Sight VLT is for hard-charging, technical riders who are looking for the fastest route down the mountain and want to turn around and ride back up to do it again.
Getting down even the most impossible trails will be a like riding down a smooth country road because of the bike's Kenda Sport Juggernaut 4.8 inch tires. If you need to stop quickly while riding the Puma, you will be happy to find that you have at your disposable a pair of powerful hydraulic disc breaks. Great for staying hidden while approaching game, this bike comes with a digital camo finish.
In our view, e-bikes are approaching a crossroads in concept and design. Heading off in one direction are longer travel, enduro-style e-bikes, which are largely designed for cruising up and then blasting back down. Plotting a slightly different course is the idea of a lightweight model that rides much more like a normal mountain bike, but requires more work from the rider. Of the two approaches, both have their benefits, but it’s the latter that gets us the most excited. Once the overall weight falls into the 16-17kg range (the lightest bikes are currently19-20kg) it’s going to be really hard to tell the difference between an e-bike and a regular trail bike on the descents and the flat, but you get the benefit of a gentle push up the climbs.
Firstly this is not a motorcycle. I bought this to use as a daily commuter.I now have 1000 + miles on it. The pedal assist works fine and may be ok for leisurely riding but I just use the throttle and pedal. This is a great bike. Strong frame and wheels. Been in two crashes and no damage. The tires are nice off road tires and now live on my daughters mountain bike. I switched them out for high pressure road tires. Forget about the horn and light. They don't work. I am 6'1" 32" inseam and had to buy a longer seatpost($30) to fit this frame. 13miles each way commute. Battery life is fine. After the 26 mile round trip it has a little juice left but not enough for another ride to work. I would buy again.
I haven't given a full benchmark on battery life as I haven't gone without pedaling just using the motor. I live in a hilly place and I need to pedal to make it up some hills. But initial impressions are good. My hilly trip to the beach with kids in tow was about 13 miles round trip and I made it down to 3 of 5 bars on the battery. The battery does go down when the motor is under stress but levels itself when back on level ground. Battery is looking good.
The bike has three speed modes: low, medium and high. The top speed is about 18 miles with motor only and 25 mph with pedaling. The range you can get out of the motor is about 30 miles, but since you can pedal it just like the traditional bike after the battery dies, there is really no limit to how far you can go. 21-speed gear shift system allows you to be in full control of your ride, and front and rear disc brakes protect your safety. The Ancheer electric mountain bike is also equipped with LED headlight and horn.
The HITHOT H1 from Addmotor is the second bike in this list. It is cheaper than the Cyrusher XF800 because its motor and battery are less powerful but the bike, in no way, lacks in quality. Considering the price and quality of the components, Addmotor has done an amazing job. Riding this bike is fun and playful, and it will match the expectations of every budget shopper.
By Max Shumpert: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best e-bikes available for those who are interested in new technology combined with traditional bikes. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best electric bicycles currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
Due to high total weights of over 20 kg, it doesn’t matter whether the scale stops at 21.44 kg or 22.2 kg for a modern eMTB. In our test, the difference between the lightest and the heaviest bike was just under 4 kg. This is not to be ignored… but a little extra weight in the form of functional, reliable componentry is better than an ebike designed and constructed to be as light as possible, at all costs, but which ends up in the workshop more often than on the trail.